Meters with Pulse Output

What are the meters with pulse output?

We all know the good old water, power, heat or gas flow meters. They are widely used in the utility industry. Any of us have at least a couple in his home or business. In order to understand how does it work let’s first focus on what is a pulse.
The Figure on the left illustrates a pulse output signal. Each pulse is characterized with an amplitude and a T_high and T_low. T_high is the duration of the pulse and T_low is anytime between two pulses. There are different kind of pulses.

  • Dry contact reed switch pulses – the most common kind of pulses generated by most of the mechanical meters. Pulses are generated by a magnet attached to one of the rollers inside the meter.
  • S0 pulses – Generated typically by meters that has power supply or a pulse output with a battery. Also known as open collector pulses.

  • What are the meters with pulse output?

    Depending of your meter one pulse might mean different things:
    For water meters 1 pulse = 1 L, 10 L or 100 L, e.g one pulse is equal to 1, 10 or 100 liters of water
    For gas flow meters 1 pulse = 0.01 m3, 0.1 m2 or 1 m3, e.g one pulse is equal to 1/100, 1/10 or 1 cubical meter of natural gas
    For electricity energy typically you will get something like 1, 10, 100, 1000 W. E.g one pulse is equal to 1, 10, 100 or 1000 Watts.

    How does a meter with pulse output look like?

    You can recognize the meters with that capability by a “cable” or a “place” where you can plug a meter. On the photo to the left the pulse output is the white plug with the cable hooked on the meter.
    Typical questions related to buying a meter suitable for smart metering and monitoring:
    What kind of a meter to buy with pulse output or with integrated radio module?
    It is always better to get a meter with pulse output than a meter with integrated radio module. The integrated module typically could be read only by the vendor of the meter and the pulse output by anybody able to detect a pulse as the one above.
    Should we buy a meter with smaller K-factor or with larger?
    The smaller the better. Small K-factor will allow pulse generation on small amounts of water, gas, electricity or heat. That will allow fine grain metering and smooth monitoring. Smooth monitoring will allow detection of even the smallest leaks.

    How does a meter with pulse output look like?
    Consumption monitoring has never been so easy!
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